Monday 13th January 2013 LQ: Can you explain the journey of a river from source to mouth? Rivers The Amazon river Today we are going to investigate the journey of a river. We will look at where and how rivers start and the journey they take across the land to a larger body of water. The Danube river Where do rivers begin? How do rivers begin? We are going to watch a short clip which explains how rivers can begin. BBC - Learning Zone Class Clips Rivers and the water cycle Geography Video The Ganges river Clouds release their rain over the hills. Most of this soaks into the ground to become groundwater. Some groundwater comes to the surface to form springs. Who can tell me how rivers begin? Springs join together to make streams. As the streams trickle down the hillside they join together, getting bigger as they go, until they become rivers. The journey of a river can be divided into three sections: upper middle lower The Yangtze river The Upper Course The upper course of a river starts at the source, this is where the river begins. A river's journey - the upper course Mountain Rain RIVER SOURCE Springs Groundwater Springs go on to form streams The Middle Course On either side of the middle course of the river are floodplains, these areas are flat and often become flooded when heavy rainfall causes the river to overflow. Sometimes another river (a tributary) will join a river; the joining point is called a confluence. A river's journey - the middle course Original river Tributary (joining river) Floodplains Confluence The river widens to allow for the extra water that the joining river brings. The Middle Course – Meanders A meander is a large bend in the river. If a river floods, the neck of the meander becomes flooded and the river will take this route – rivers take the shortest route. Over time the neck of the meander will become the new path of the river, soil will be deposited by the river and the meander will be cut of completely and end up forming an ox bow lake. A river's journey - meanders & ox bow lakes River takes shortest route Meander is cut off and ox bow lake forms Meander Flood Soil deposited The Lower Course The lower course of the river leads to the mouth of the river; the mouth of the river is where the river meets the sea. The lower course of the river has larger meanders. The river has energy and so carries less material, it deposits the soil and other materials which eventually form small islands or deltas. A river's journey - the lower course BBC - Learning Zone Class Clips - River Tay - lower course and estuary - Geography Video • • • • • • • • • • • • Key Words Source – the beginning of a river. Groundwater – rain that soaks into the ground. Spring – groundwater that comes up to the surface. Stream – a small river. River – a large natural stream of water. Floodplain – area of flat land either side, likely to flood. Confluence – the point where a tributary joins a river. Tributary – a stream or river that joins another river. Meander – a bend in a river. Ox bow lake – a lake created when a meander is cut off. Mouth – the place where a river meets the sea. Delta – a small island created by deposited material (soil). Let’s test our knowledge! Let’s help Martin on his journey down the river Nile by answering questions about rivers. Help Martin raise money for charity by floating down the Nile on a rubber ring!